Affordable co-op house put on private market with 50% price rise

Ó Cualann co-op house sold at discount for €170,000 now on market for €250,000

A three-bedroom house, built in 2018 as part of an affordable-housing scheme for low and middle income workers in north Dublin, is being offered for sale on the private market at a mark-up of almost 50 per cent.

Housing co-operative Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance built the estate of 49 houses at Baile na Laochra in Ballymun with prices coming in about 30 per cent below market value.

At the time it was the only affordable housing scheme open in the country and the then minister for housing, Eoghan Murphy, said the estate was being used as a model for the development of a new State-backed affordable-housing scheme.

A three-bed house in Baile na Laochra, sold by Ó Cualann for €170,000 three years ago, has in recent days been put on the market with a guide price of €250,000. Unlike the original purchasers, potential buyers will not have to comply with any affordable-housing eligibility criteria.


Mortgage approval

To be eligible to buy the Ó Cualann houses in 2017 and 2018, single buyers had to have an income below €59,000 and couples a combined income under €79,000. A 10 per cent deposit was required, as well as mortgage approval for the remaining sum. Buyers also had to become members of the co-op.

Homeowners selling within 10 years are expected to pay a clawback fee to the co-op related to the discount on the purchase price.

The three-bedroom house now on the market would be the first to be sold on privately since the estate was built. In the case of this house, it is understood the clawback would be in the region of €44,000, which Ó Cualann would use to repay Dublin City Council for the cost of the site.

The council sold the land to the co-op for €1,000 per house plot. On the open market the same plots would have cost up to €30,000. The council also waived the development levies of €86.40 per square metre.


Ó Cualann chief executive Hugh Brennan said there was nothing to prevent all of the houses in the estate being sold privately.

“It is one of the drawbacks of the scheme. Our preferred method would have been for houses to be sold directly back to the co-op, then we could sell them on to other eligible affordable housing purchasers.”

However, he added, mortgage lenders were not willing to agree to this restriction on future sales.

The seller of the house was not available for comment.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times